IRD and Statistics NZ demonstrate best practice at World ISI Congress

Collaboration between Inland Revenue (IRD) and Statistics NZ is featuring as best practice at the 58th World Congress of the International Statistical Institute (ISI) later this month. The congress programme includes a special topic session named "The roles of tax data in official statistics."

The session is organised by Dr Michael Slyuzberg (IRD’s Official Statistics System Officials Committee member) and draws on four papers: from South Africa, Canada, Denmark, and New Zealand.

The New Zealand paper was written in close collaboration between IRD and Statistics NZ. The joint paper looks specifically at the use of tax data in official statistics, microdata research, and policy evaluation in New Zealand. The legislative and collaborative environment which allows this to happen are described, as well as the systems and processes of data supply.

The paper covers several examples showing how tax data is used in the production of statistical outputs, reduction in compliance burden, data verification, and quality improvements. Working with IRD, Statistics NZ has integrated tax data with survey and other administrative data to produce longitudinal datasets of businesses and individuals. This allows robust economic and social policy evaluation. Examples of these products include a Longitudinal Business Frame (LBF), Linked Employer-Employee Data (LEED), and a prototype Longitudinal Business Database (LBD). Further examples demonstrate resulting microdata research, which could not be supported by collections based on traditional sample surveys alone.

The meeting addresses multiple aspects of tax data usage in official statistics, such as reducing respondent burden, producing more detailed or new statistics, validating statistical surveys, etc. It provides examples of effective collaboration between statistical offices and revenue authorities.

This appears to be the first session on tax statistics in the history of ISI congresses, reflecting the growing role of tax and wider administrative data in official statistics. In fact, there is an international trend for increasing use of tax data for statistical purposes. The importance of administrative data is recognised in Principle 5 of the United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics Tax records. Receipts are an important data source for national accounts and economic statistics. The official statistics and analyses derived from tax records are, in turn, an important source of data for economic and social research.

To receive a copy of the paper after the conference, please contact Dr Michael Slyuzberg.

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